Noida-based Indian online classifieds company Info Edge, on Thursday (December 10), has expanded the corpus of Info Edge Venture Fund (IEVF), its alternative investment fund (AIF) to INR 750 Cr. This follows a contribution of INR 375 Cr from MacRitchie Investments, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean holding company and prominent startup investor, filings with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) show.
Info Edge launched IEVF in January this year as an INR 100 Cr fund, as per Sanjeev Bikhchandani, the founder of the company. The fund is sponsored through Smartweb Internet Services Ltd, a wholly-owned company of Info Edge.
Since its establishment, the fund has already invested in nine early-stage startups across sectors. These include DotPe, a tech platform digitising brick and mortar businesses, Qyuki, a digital creator-focused new age media company; Fanclash, an e-sports community and engagement platform; Truemeds, a telehealth platform; and, Rusk Media, a digital company focused on content for millennials.
According to the BSE filings, IEVF’s mandate is to invest in early-stage technology companies. While the fund has been launched this year, Info Edge has been investing in startups for long, as it counts Indian startup unicorns such as Zomato and PolicyBazaar in its portfolio. Incidentally, Temasek is also an investor in the two unicorns, having participated in the Zomato’s latest funding round in September as well as co-investing with Info Edge in PolicyBazaar.
The expansion of IEVF comes days after Info Edge founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani had called foreign investors the new ‘East India Company’ while calling out the practice of Indian startups flipping their structures as responsible for robbing the country of its intellectual property, taxes and data.
“Shades of the East India Company type of situation here – Indian market, Indian customers, Indian developers, Indian workforce. However 100% foreign ownership, foreign investors. IP and data transferred overseas. Transfer pricing issues foggy,” Bikhchandani wrote on Twitter.
Bikhchandani’s tweets had come in response to a Twitter user questioning why Y Combinator, an American seed money startup accelerator, needs to force Indian companies to flip their structures.
Bikhchandani’s Info Edge is the parent of jobs portal naukri.com, matrimony portal jeevansaathi.com, real estate search engine 99acres.com and education portal shiksha.com.
Meanwhile, we examined the repercussions of the US-based renowned startup accelerator’s decision to ‘flip’ Indian startups to American entities for the purpose of funding on the Indian tech economy in our in-depth look earlier this week.
Foreign investors are insistent on taking the holding company outside India, as they don’t want to deal with Indian regulators and tax structures.
Several Indian startups looking to register overseas for an initial public offering (IPO) have also cited similar reasons i.e. more helpful regulations for startups in markets such as the US and Singapore, as reasons for them choosing to list overseas.